Today is "R U OK Day" in Australia. I think that a lot of people assume that Christians are happy all of the time and that's just not true. Just because you're a Christian doesn't mean that life is all sunshine and rainbows. We live in a fallen world and are subject to the same mental health challenges, physical illnesses, hormonal mood swings, disappointments, hardships and tough times as the rest of the world. Many mental health disorders are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain so it's not a matter of snapping out of it.
Mark 14:33 tells us that Jesus was "deeply distressed and troubled." Do you know what he did when that happened? He got on his knees and prayed. Here are three things to do if you are not okay:
I have a confession to make, I have been feeling down recently, lacking motivation and feeling overwhelmed. I talked to some friends and saw a psychologist who was able to offer some tools to get through this phase. There is no shame in asking for help - you would be surprised how many people who look like they have it together are actually falling to pieces or are getting help.
So, are you okay?
I love these three verses - they are some of my favourites. Even though they are small they say so much. In the Easy to Read Version verse 16 says, always be full of joy. The Greek word in the original text means to be cheerful. I received a note in my pigeon hole at work this week that said thank "for always being so happy and friendly." The truth is that I haven't felt very happy recently - I have felt emotional and down. That doesn't mean I have to act that way though. I'm not suggesting you ignore your emotions - that's not healthy. You can sit with them for a while and acknowledge them, maybe even journal about them. But you don't have to be led by them. I know some really cheerful people at the moment who are going through some incredibly difficult things.
When I feel down, I try to think of all the things that I'm grateful for, I try to get outside in the fresh air, I put some worship music on and sing along loudly. I know that God has great plans for me and even if this life is difficult, Revelation promises that there will be no tears or sadness in the new heaven and earth - that's something to be cheerful about!
2020 has been a difficult year. Let's face it - it sucks! You might be struggling mentally and emotionally due to Covid-19. You might be in isolation, your family might be struggling financially or tensions at home might be high, you might miss seeing grandparents or family or friends, you might have missed out celebrating a birthday or a family holiday. You might just feel down because of all the bad news in the world at the moment. You are not alone.
If you're a Christian you might be tempted to think that you shouldn't feel this way because of your faith. Until Jesus comes again we are all part of this broken world. We experience hardships, pain, sadness, grief and disappointment just like everyone else. 2 Peter 2:9 says, the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials.
If you are struggling, talk to someone about it - your parents, an aunt, teacher, youth pastor, chaplain or other trusted adult. You may also need to see a counsellor or psychologist. There are people out there who can help you through this difficult season.
If you're in Australia, here are the national crisis numbers:
Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 or suicidecallbackservice.org.au
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au
Headspace: 1800 650 890 Free online and telephone service for 12-25 year olds
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 A free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.
Many people are struggling with mental health issues during the Covid 19 pandemic. It's not normal or healthy to be cooped up in your house 24/7. Humans need fellowship and physical affection. Some of us a having a better time than others because being introverted is our natural bent. Some of us are going nuts because we need to be around people that we aren't related to. Some of us are really struggling because we already have an existing mental health disorder that is being exacerbated but the pandemic and isolation. Some of us are stuck inside homes with a lot of tension or even abuse. Whatever your situation, there are some basic things that you can do to cope better. Here is a PDF that I put together with some friends for our Young Adults at church. IF YOU NEED HELP, PLEASE ASK FOR IT. DON'T SUFFER IN SILENCE - GET HELP.
You can download the PDF below.
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.